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Annual Awards

The North Carolina Community Health Center Association Awards Program was initiated in 2002, and over the years has paid tribute to many outstanding leaders from North Carolina’s community health centers and partners.

Now Accepting Nominations

The recipient of the following award is announced during the annual
East Coast Migrant Stream Forum.


In 2003, the North Carolina Community Health Center Association (NCCHCA), celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary. To commemorate this important milestone, NCCHCA chose to recognize its migrant health legacy through the creation of the annual Steve Shore Community Catalyst Award. Steve Shore was the second Executive Director of NCCHCA, serving in the position for eleven years from 1987 to 1998. It was under his leadership that NCCHCA initiated several important migrant health activities, including the first East Coast Migrant Stream Forum.

As a tribute to Steve Shore and his commitment to improving the health and well-being of farmworkers, NCCHCA honors the legacies of others who share this same vision through the Steve Shore Community Catalyst Award. Each year, through a nomination and selection process, NCCHCA identifies an individual or one organization involved in farmworker health, whose work has incited positive change in the health and wellness of farmworkers and demonstrates


Works to identify and raise awareness in the community about the health and lives of farmworkers and their families


Promotes and advocates for policy and practices that improve the health and access to health care for farmworkers and their families.


Leads and influences issues affecting the health of farmworkers and their families and inspires excellence in others


Partners with other advocates and agencies in the community on initiatives that aim to enhance the health and lives of farmworkers and their families

This year, the Steve Shore Community Catalyst award goes to

Karin Hoffman

Director of Migrant and Hispanic Outreach of Rural
Medical Services in Parrottsville, Tennessee

Karin directs an outreach program which has existed in Eastern TN for over 25 years and each summer serves migratory tomato workers from Florida and Georgia as well as serves the substantial population of seasonal families working in tobacco and tomatoes. She joined the program nine years ago after being a Peace Corps volunteer.

Karin has been especially effective in creating partnerships both within her organization and with outside partners which promote innovation within her program. She oversees a promotor program which promotes women’s and prenatal health. She partners strongly with Migrant Head Start and the Department of Social

Services on screenings for migrant children as well as coordination of Medicaid enrollment. She regularly hosts student interns from East Tennessee State University and partners with researchers there on reducing pesticide exposure, musculoskeletal stress, and heat stress for tomato workers in the fields. Other collaborations include churches, the local Substance Abuse Coalition, and the National Center for Farmworker Health Call for Health program which she uses to fund emergency dental care and surgery.

As Karin’s co-workers say about her, “Karin has strong and natural leadership qualities. She is the kind of person who always advocates for the patient.”


Robert J. Greczyn, Jr. Community Health Center Leadership Award FINAL 2018

NCCHCA is excited to continue our partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation of North Carolina celebrating the Robert J. Greczyn, Jr. Community Health Center Leadership Award. Now in the 9th year of a 10 year commitment, this award honors a community health center professional who excels in service to his or her fellow North Carolinians.

The Robert J. Greczyn Jr. Community Health Center Leadership Award honors a health center professional excelling in service to his or her fellow North Carolinians. The recipient will be presented with a commissioned vase handcrafted by renowned North Carolina potter Ben Owen III along with a $25,000 unrestricted grant that will go toward advancing the work of their community health center.

Health Center Advocate Award

Begun in 2014, the NCCHCA Health Center Advocate Award is given to an individual who consistently and passionately engages health center staff, health center board members, community groups and others in grassroots advocacy and education to promote and protect the Health Center Program in NC. Candidates for the Health Center Advocate of the Year Award can be health center staff or board members who demonstrate a commitment to social justice and civic engagement.

Melissa Bailey Castillo, Chief Operating Officer of Med North Health Center in Wilmington, North Carolina is the recipient of the Health Center Advocate Award, which recognizes an individual who consistently and passionately engages health center staff, health center board members, community groups and others in grassroots advocacy and education to promote and protect the Health Center Program in North Carolina.

This year’s recipient, Melissa Bailey Castillo has been the director of outreach for Kinston Community Health Center for the last three years. There, she focuses on overcoming barriers to care for vulnerable patients as part of the clinical health care team. NCCHCA was particularly impressed by Melissa’s work during Hurricane Florence, which brought together her knowledge and skills around both farmworker health and emergency response. Melissa ran supplies to workers who did not have access to transportation and coordinated rescues of those in precarious floodwaters after the storm.  Before her time at Kinston, Melissa held a position as case manager with The Free Clinics in Hendersonville that targeted the social determinants of health for its patient, has served as the executive director of NC FIELD as regional coordinator for the Children in the Fields Campaign for the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP), and also worked contractually for Human Rights Watch to organize for investigators to interview and document the presence of child tobacco workers in eastern North Carolina.

Association Service Award

This award is given to an individual or organization that has contributed significantly to the enhancement of the North Carolina Community Health Center Association. Enhancement may come in the areas of program development, improving financial status, improving relations with organizations, or in assistance to Association members.

NCCHCA’s Association Service Award recipient, Americares, has made major contributions to NCCHCA’s training offerings in 2019.  In the long-term recovery from Hurricane Florence and other major events, Americares offered a community health center-specific resiliency bootcamp training, a two-day intensive emergency preparedness class offered free of charge to any CHCs who wished to attend. In the same year, through a partnership with NACHC, Americares offered NCCHCA members a Mental Health First Aid training, hosted at Blue Ridge Health. These resources are invaluable to NCCHCA and our members, as community health center patients are the most vulnerable to the long-term effects of such major weather events, and it is crucial that our facilities get back up and running as soon as possible during and after these events.

Outstanding Provider Award

The Outstanding Provider Award recognizes a Provider who has worked in a North Carolina Community Health Center for at least five years, for commitment, compassion and superior contributions embodying the Community Health Center mission.

In the twenty-three years she has been with Gaston Family Health Services, the organization has grown from a single clinical site in one county to sixteen medical sites serving 60,000 patients in six counties.  Dr. Ocloo went from being one of two providers to overseeing 57 providers.  Through her practice, Dr. Ocloo has recognized the need to address upstream barriers to good health in order to create an environment where everyone has equal opportunity to be healthy.  She has been an enthusiastic supporter of Community Centered Health (CCH) efforts in the Highland Community of Gastonia.  Through CCH, residents of this predominately low-income, African American neighborhood have received training and support to advocate for changes to reduce barriers to good health in their neighborhood and community.  CCH successes include formation of a 501c3 neighborhood association, infrastructure investment of over $1 million by the City of Gastonia, engagement with City staff and elected officials, the hiring of a community health worker to help neighbors achieve their health goals, and the donation of land for a youth-led community garden.  Dr. Ocloo also gives back to her native country through her leadership of the Carolina Chapter of Ghanaian Physicians and Surgeons Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides resources and services for Ghanaians in both the US and Ghana.

Dr. Evelyn D. Schmidt Outstanding Service Award

Named to honor a pioneer in social and community medicine, the Evelyn D. Schmidt Outstanding Service Award recognizes a community-oriented organization that has improved access to care through innovative, comprehensive approaches.

Named to honor a pioneer in social and community medicine, the Evelyn D. Schmidt Outstanding Service Award is a tribute to Dr. Evy Schmidt of Lincoln CHC. NCCHCA honors someone that has improved access to care through innovative, comprehensive approaches as evidenced by outreach efforts, preventive health and educational programs, quality and efficiency of care, and/or strong community support and involvement.

This year’s awardee is Allyn Benard Dambeck, MD, Goshen Medical. Dr. Dambeck has been practicing for 65 years, after graduating from the Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine at The University of Vermont in 1954. He served 3 years in the US Navy, was Chief of Staff and the Head of the Department of Family Medicine at Rockville Hospital in CT. He then moved to Sampson Regional Medical Center serving as Chief of Emergency Services in 1978-1993.  He was one of the first to work as an ER physician in the area while providing primary care in an out-patient office.  He would take turns covering the ER for the hospital, providing care for the under/un-insured patients of the area. Dr. Dambeck began working with the Goshen Medical Center in 1993, served as the Chief Medical Officer and Lab Director for Goshen Medical Center for the past 25 years. Over the past 25 years, he has served as the supervising/collaborating MD for well over 100 PA/NP within the Goshen system. “Dr. Dambeck could have chosen to give his life of service anywhere, and he faithfully and diligently devoted himself to our service area.  We have indeed been blessed to have a man of his caliber to commit himself to our mission,” said Dr. Maynor of Goshen.

Legislative Award

The NCCHCA Legislative Award is presented to an individual within the legislative or administrative branches of federal or state government who has made significant contribution to the community health field by affecting legislation that impacts NCCHCA members. The recipient has demonstrated, over a period of time, his/her belief in and support of the goals and purposes of the Community Health Center Movement.

Representative Dobson represents Avery, McDowell and Mitchell counties. These counties are home to five health center sites (2 from Mountain Community Health Partnership and 3 from High Country Community Health) and more than 7,000 health center patients.

This year, Representative Dobson introduced three pieces of legislation during the long legislative session that are positive for Community Health Centers and the patients they serve.

  • House Bill 655: NC Health Care for Working Families would close the coverage gap and provide health insurance coverage for many of North Carolina’s uninsured working parents. In addition to leading this legislation, Representative Dobson spoke in support of closing the coverage gap at an early legislative breakfast for NC General Assembly members.
  • House Bill 721: Increase Access to Telehealth services would expand the types of telehealth modalities that would be reimbursable by Medicaid, commercial, and the State Employees Health Plan
  • House Bill 884: FQHC Medicaid Reimbursement/Telemedicine/Clinical Pharmacist Practitioners would treat FQHCs the same as other providers offering similar services, such that FQHCs could bill Medicaid as distant site providers for telemedicine services and could receive Medicaid reimbursement for clinical pharmacist practitioners.

NCCHCA commends Representative Dobson for taking a leadership role in health policy for North Carolina and encouraging his colleagues to support legislation that would improve the health of marginalized and underserved communities.

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